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Injured striker Alexander Frei says his Euro dream is destroyed but urges Swiss to fight on

Injured striker Alexander Frei says his Euro dream is destroyed but urges Swiss to fight on

Injured striker Alexander Frei urged Switzerland on Monday to fight without him for the European Championship after admitting that his own "dream is destroyed."
In an emotional news conference, the team's captain and record scorer explained his bitter disappointment at being ruled out of the tournament after rupturing his left knee ligament in Switzerland's opening 1-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Saturday.
"A dream is destroyed for me," Frei said. "(But all of Switzerland) has a team, and this team has a dream. This must go on."
Frei was down for several minutes after being fouled from behind by Czech Republic defender Zdenek Grygera shortly before halftime in the Group A match in Basel.
He slowly walked off the field, a trainer on each side holding him, tears streaming down his face. After going to the bench, Frei walked half the length of the field, again with a trainer at each side, and made his way to the tunnel. He was replaced by Hakan Yakin when the second half began, but returned on crutches to watch.
"In the moment it happened, I heard my knee and felt that it was not good," said Frei, who has had a hip operation, two muscle tears and a calf injury in the last 13 months. "I know my body too well."
Frei, who will be sidelined for six weeks due to this injury, said he had not slept well the last two nights and added that "there were a lot of tears."
But the Borussia Dortmund player said he was trying to stay positive.
"I don't accuse anyone for anything _ not even my opponent Grygera," Frei said. "It was unlucky. But there was luck in my misfortune that a few millimeters difference would have meant six months out.
"You can stay down, or yet can get back up and fight. Champions get up."
Frei said he would stay with the team throughout the tournament and help in any way he could.
Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn conceded on Sunday that it was a big loss, but said the team would have to focus on its next match against Turkey on Wednesday. A loss for either team would almost surely mean elimination.
"He was an important player. He was a goal-getter," Kuhn said. "But he's out. We have to move forward."
The injury leaves Switzerland short on strikers for the match against Turkey, which lost its opener to Portugal.
Team doctor Cuno Wetzel said Monday that Marco Streller would likely be ready to play despite re-aggravating a groin injury. Should he fail to recover, Switzerland would be left with 19-year-old Eren Derdiyok and Yakin as the only attacking options.
Frei became Switzerland's leading all-time scorer on May 30 after scoring twice against Liechtenstein, passing Kubilay Turkyilmaz. He has 35 goals in 60 international appearances.


Updated : 2021-04-11 19:11 GMT+08:00